My current system is really having FPS issues in SWTOR and it's been a while anyway, so I'm ready to upgrade.
I currently have a core2duo email@example.com (32-bit)
4gb ram (i know i'm wasting some)
80gb ssd (intel)
nvidia GTS 250
my big questions are:
i5 2400 or 2500k? i see that out of the box, they perform similarly. the 2500k is a better overclocker. i've never bothered to overclock. is the shorter lifespan/expense trying to cool an overclocked processor worth it?
should i be looking at i7?
also, p67 v z68...what is this "integrated graphics" feature that i read about? the 2500k with z68 can take advantage of this, apparently. how does this help?
is there something new coming out that i should be waiting for (ivy bridge)?
finally, i've always been an nvidia/evga guy...i dont want to SLI. what's a good card for SWTOR/Diablo3 for ~200 bucks?
2500k overcclocked at 4.2 daily use without increasing the voltage is ok.
For gaming i5 2500k is more than enough.
In your budget i recomend you Nvidia 560Ti but is not EVGA is Gigabyte : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 210$ and 190$ after mail in rebates.
Evga 560Ti : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 230$ and 210$ after mail in rebates.
The diference between p67 and z68 Z68 has SRT, which is SSD caching. You use a mechanical drive and an SSD. The SSD acts as a type of 'ram' for the mechanical drive speeding up your response times.
Today, the 2500K is as good as it gets for gaming. If the price is not a big problem, go for it.
It will serve you well even when ivy bridge launches in April. Ivy bridge will have the same price structure, be perhaps 10% faster, and probably overclock a bit better.
The"K" suffix allows multiplier overclocking, which is as simple and safe as you can imagine. Without increasing voltage, 4.0 will be reached by virtually all chips. Longevity will not be an issue, the chip will be long obsolete before it wears out, if ever.
I would not try to go with 8gb dimms. They are currently 3x the price of 4gb dimms. 8gb(2 x 4gb) seems to be the sweet spot for gamers, since no games, by themselves will use more than 2-3gb. If you will run 64 bit enabled apps, then a 16gb kit would be appropriate. You will want windows-7 64 bit to use it all. Home premium is fine.
You want documented ram compatibility. If you should ever have a problem, you want supported ram.
Otherwise, you risk a finger pointing battle between the ram and motherboard support sites, claiming "not my problem".
One place to check is your motherboards web site.
Look for the ram QVL list. It lists all of the ram kits that have been tested with that particular motherboard.
Sometimes the QVL list is not updated after the motherboard is released.
For more current info, go to a ram vendor's web site and access their ram selection configurator.
Enter your motherboard, and you will get a list of compatible ram kits.
While today's motherboards are more tolerant of different ram, it makes sense to buy ram that is known to work and is supported.
The current Intel nehalem and sandy bridge cpu's have an excellent integrated ram controller. It is able to keep the cpu fed with data from any speed ram.
The difference in real application performance or FPS between the fastest and slowest ram is on the order of 1-3%.
Synthetic benchmark differences will be impressive, but are largely irrelevant in the real world.
For a gamer, you will want a discrete graphics card, not the integrated graphics.
Z68 motherboards allow integrated or discrete graphics and overclocking, while P67 allows only discrete graphics. Either will be suitable.
As the other posters stated an2500k overclocked to 4.2 or more is where you wana be at. id go for the z68 it has more features. the 560 ti is a good choice for now it has atm a good price performance ratio. i would def look at the 4 gb ddr dimms and choose ones that are qvl. i bought a 8gb kit and foujd when building my computer it wouldnt boot. so i had to go out and spend another chunk of change on another kit.